Feet of Angels
18 March – 29 April 2023
Feet of Angels is a new body of work by Anne Howeson, responding to the photography of William Henry Fox Talbot, accompanied by drawings from recent years that follow through from her last exhibition, Present in the Past, in which she explored the transformation of Kings Cross over 300 years. Where previously overlaid 18th and 19th Century engravings, the new drawings are worked over Fox Talbot photographs from the Bodleian Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonée.
Howeson celebrates photography, but her work is infused with narrative and dreams, peopled with characters drawn from plays and poems, perhaps a figure she has encountered momentarily. Her chosen photograph may contain much, or little of note to anyone other than herself. It is a springboard to other worlds, for transcending time, a stage on which to choreograph her dioramas. After scrubbing out selected original figures and features, Howeson introduces her own players, trees and greenery. Working in gouache, conté and crayon, she brings colour to the monochrome, accentuating light and dark. Chiaroscuro adds and the narrative unfurls as she introduces both period and contemporary characters to a re-orchestrated landscape.
Whether pastoral and quiet, or politically charged and pithy, Howeson's work is complex, laced with moments from beyond with which she seeks to soften the grit of reality. The overall effect is unsettling, suggesting an unearthly presence.
'Feet of Angels' will be showing alongside 'Bright Sparks : Photography and the Talbot Archive' at the Bodleian - Treasury, Weston Library (17 March-18 June 2023)